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Slow progress of check posts along Nepal border worries India

Less than 15 months after work started on the integrated check post at Raxaul in Bihar on the Indo-Nepal border, New Delhi is worried about slow progress of work on the Nepal side.

world Updated: Jul 08, 2011 23:32 IST
Utpal Parashar

Less than 15 months after work started on the integrated check post at Raxaul in Bihar on the Indo-Nepal border, New Delhi is worried about slow progress of work on the Nepal side.

Work gap between Raxaul and Birganj in Nepal due to land acquisition and water management related problems has already delayed the project and is expected to cost more.

The same reasons are leading to delay in the other three ICPs India is constructing at Jogbani-Biratnagar, Sunauli-Bhairahawa and Rupaidiha-Nepalganj along the 1800 km Indo-Nepal border.

“Construction on the Indian side is on as per schedule, but there’s huge gap in work progress in Nepal,” AE Ahmed, Secretary (Border Management) said on Friday.

Ahmed and a team of Indian officials are on a visit to Nepal to take part in the fifth meeting of the projects steering committee between both nations. Delay of work in the ICPs figured prominently in the deliberations.

The Raxaul-Birganj ICP was the second one after the first in Attari-Wagah along the border with Pakistan. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had laid its foundation stone at Raxaul in April last year.

Compensation for land acquisition and political interference stopped work on the Birganj side in Nepal for seven months last year. The project costing a total of Rs 310 crore and spread across 386 acres in India and Nepal is now expected to be over in July next year.

Nearly 80 pc of Nepal’s trade with India takes place through the Raxaul-Birganj corridor and construction of the ICP would ensure smooth operations and remove bottlenecks.

The ICPs much like airports will have separate facilities for customs, security, immigration and quarantine and provide congestion free movement of persons, goods and transport between both nations.

Besides the ICPs, India is also spending over Rs 2500 crores to construct five railway lines totaling 184 km and 1400 km of roads along the border with Nepal to improve communication links.

India is constructing 13 ICPs along borders with Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Nepal is the only neighbour where construction is being undertaken with financial aid from India.

“Despite our differences with Pakistan, we have got very prompt response from them on the Attari-Wagah ICP. I have invited Nepali officials to see the work we are doing there,” said Ahmed.